Exercise: My Best Anti-Stress Ally
If there is one reason why I work out, it is the feeling of absolute relaxation I get after my sessions. Could physical activity be my best tool for fighting stress? I discover why exercise is good for my body and also for my mental and emotional balance, and I create a tailor-made fitness programme to let off steam and say no to anxiety!
I Stay in High Spirits With Exercise
To get rid of stress and anxiety, I take stock of each element that upsets me or contributes to reducing my well-being:
- Professional or private worries
- Lack of sleep
- Feeling powerless or unable to do anything about a situation I don’t like
- Lack of physical activity, which makes me nervous and irritable
- Any other sources of stress
Exercising can help me to act on each of these criteria in order to keep my morale up, improve my self-esteem and maintain my good mood:
- Practising a physical activity changes my thinking: I concentrate on something other than my daily life, and my worries disappear, at least for the duration of a session (but often for much longer).
- By working out, I am in charge: I take concrete action, and the results are immediately visible. I feel satisfied and gain confidence with each small victory!
- Working out helps me to become creative: I learn to solve problems, to look at them differently, develop winning strategies and push my limits while listening to my feelings. I am in control, and I am positive!
- Physical activity causes my body to release endorphins, the hormones of relaxation and good humour. I let off steam and channel my energy during training, then I sleep better, which has a favourable impact on my morale and dynamism in everyday life.
To Combat Stress, I Exercise as Frequently as Possible!
A session of at least 30 minutes is necessary for the body to secrete endorphins, the secret of physical activity’s effect on stress and mood. I take this figure as a benchmark rather than a constraint: with a little imagination, it is quite easy to plan 30-minute workout sessions into my weekly schedule.
Depending on my habits and lifestyle, I can get up a little earlier in the morning (thanks to a more restful night’s sleep, I recover better), organise a session at lunchtime at home, at the gym or even at the office, plan an invigorating walk in the countryside after lunch, or train while my children are at school or in the evening when they are in bed.
If I don’t manage to reach the 30 minutes in the first week, I start by planning short 10-minute breaks to let off steam: when it comes to exercise, every step and every movement is worthwhile! Once I’ve seen the benefits, I’ll extend the length of my workouts as soon as possible!
My Fitness Plan to Blow Off Steam
If I want to exercise for 30 minutes, cardio training is an excellent idea. With this type of moderate-intensity training, which is accessible to everyone, whatever my physical condition, I am bound to find an activity that I enjoy: swimming, running, walking, rowing, cycling, etc.
To get off to a good start, I am building up a foundation of exercises and activities that inspire me to let off steam and say no to stress for good:
- Star Jumps: with these dynamic jumps, in which I spread my legs while raising my arms and then pull them together again, I burn calories and also get rid of a lot of stress!
- Skipping with a Rope: a fun and easy cardio activity; skipping is my best weapon for avoiding headaches and letting off steam.
- Step Aerobics: these exercises, performed to rhythmic music, make me want to smile and forget all my worries. Step aerobics can also be done anywhere, even on the stairs at the office.
- Yoga: it’s impossible not to mention the ultimate Zen activity. Breathing, while concentrating on the present moment, and even meditating if I feel like it, brings together all the ingredients to put things into perspective and makes me feel good in my body as well as in my head.
- Swimming: immersed in a silent, timeless atmosphere, I recharge my batteries and make peace with my body, with myself, and finally with the world! One thing is sure; I will sleep well tonight!